- Dengue patients are increasing in districts outside Dhaka
- IEDCR has confirmed 18 deaths of dengue so far
- 80% of dengue patients said to be from Dhaka South
- Dhaka South has allocated less for mosquito eradication budget than last year
- Health experts said flaunting publicity campaigns and fines to control mosquitoes will not be very useful
The number of dengue patients admitted to various hospitals in just the first 10 days of August this year, is close to half the total number of infected patients admitted to various hospitals in the country this entire year.
Dengue patients are increasing in other districts when compared to Dhaka, which saw much lower numbers last month.
2,321 dengue patients have been admitted in the first 10 days of August, this month. In July, 2,268 dengue patients were admitted to various hospitals across the country.
According to data from 41 hospitals in Dhaka, 852 people are undergoing treatment at these hospitals, and 63 patients are undergoing treatment in the districts outside the capital at present. This number was below 10, even before 25 July.
The Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) has reported 18 deaths with dengue symptoms, but not confirmed any dengue death so far.
This year, 32 people in January, nine in February, 13 in March, three in April, 43 in May, 272 in June, and 2,286 in July, were treated for dengue at hospitals.
According to the Department of Health, 226 dengue patients were admitted to various hospitals across the country in the last 24 hours till 8am on Tuesday. The total number of infected patients this year stands at 4,978. Around 4,046 people have returned home from hospital after treatment this year.
According to the Department of Health, a total of 1,405 dengue patients were admitted to hospitals across the country in 2020. Of them, seven died.
80% OF DENGUE PATIENTS ARE FROM DHAKA SOUTH
Dhaka North City Corporation authorities say that about 80% of dengue patients are from Dhaka South.
Dhaka North has allocated Tk72 crore in this year's budget to eradicate mosquitoes, which is Tk2 crore more than in the last financial year.
However, the budget allocation for Dhaka South City Corporation's mosquito eradication program has been reduced this year as compared to last year. In the last financial year, the allocation for pesticides used in mosquito eradication was Tk30 crore. That year the expenditure was Tk39.50 crore. However, in the new financial year, only Tk22.50 crore has been allocated for this sector to Dhaka South.
In the ongoing Dhaka North combing operation from 27 July to 9 August, fines of Tk48,99,700 were collected.
Dhaka South has collected fines amounting to Tk79,10,600 in various mosquito eradication operations since 1 April.
Health experts say it is not possible to control the Aedes mosquito just by conducting raids and imposing fines. Experts blame the city corporation's lack of professionalism and weak public health messaging as the main obstacles to controlling the spread of the Aedes mosquito.
Regarding the spread of Aedes mosquitoes in Dhaka South and what action the authorities are taking, its Public Relations Officer Md Abu Naser told TBS, "We are working relentlessly to eradicate Aedes mosquitoes from our control room, and campaigns are ongoing. For the time being, City South City has focused on mosquito eradication without paying attention to the percentage of patients."
The symptoms of Covid-19 and dengue are almost the same. As the incidence of Covid-19 is increasing, many people are undergoing treatment at home without getting tested. That is why it is difficult to determine the actual number of dengue cases. Children are most at risk among the victims. In this situation, experts fear a further deterioration in the dengue situation.
Experts and city dwellers are blaming government departments concerned, including the city corporation, for the dengue situation. The Department of Health is also concerned about it.
At a function on Tuesday, Dhaka North Mayor Atiqul Islam said every effort would be made to bring down the number of dengue patients to zero in Dhaka North. We have to ensure that water does not stay in water tubs, unused tires, coconut shells, open packets of chips, various types of open pots, roofs, or other places at homes and offices for more than three days.
The mayor said a financial reward of Tk50 will be given for each unused commode and tire submitted to the ward councillor's office, and Tk5 for each coconut shell, paint can, or packet of chips.
Noting that dengue is likely to spread across the country on a large scale, Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed, former director of the health department's disease control branch, told TBS that urbanisation was linked to the increase in dengue cases.
As urbanisation has increased, Aedes mosquitoes are breeding fast in our country due to the accumulation of water in various things used for development projects. At present, these development programs have increased in rural areas too and it is not unusual for dengue to spread there, he added.
Mentioning the lack of professionalism and public participation in the control of Aedes mosquitoes in the two city corporations of Dhaka, the public health expert said it is not possible to prevent dengue infection by visiting one area and imposing a fine. These areas need to be monitored regularly, which requires trained manpower as well as research. At the same time, public participation should be increased many fold.
Dr Be-Nazir said the current action being taken is barely minimal, like drawing a few teaspoons of water from the sea, which does not have any effect on the sea. Similarly, flaunting publicity campaigns and fines will not be very useful.
In 2019, the country overcame the worst of dengue infections. About 1,01,354 people were infected with dengue in the country that year. According to the Health Emergency Operations Centre and Control Room of the Department of Health, 276 deaths of suspected dengue were reported to the IEDCR in 2019. Expert reviews confirmed that 179 of them died of dengue.